According to a Preliminary 2017 Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities report by the National Law Enforcement Officer's Fund (NLEOF), police officers are being killed less by gunfire, and far more due to on-the-job accidents.
The report compares the almost five-month period from January 1 to May 16 in both 2016 and 2017.
Findings show that firearm-related deaths among police officers have decreased by 6 percent — from 18 deaths during the same period in 2016, to 17 deaths in 2017.
However, the good news ends there. All in all, police fatalities are up, and while most were because of accidental causes, some occurred as a result of officer heroism in the line of duty.
The preliminary report said that vehicle-related deaths are up 69 percent from last year's total of 13 deaths, bringing the total number of officers killed in traffic-related accidents to 22 thus far in 2017. While most were traffic-related accidents, the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) reports that three were killed while pursuing criminals, and one was a victim of vehicular assault.
However, officer deaths as a result of other accidents is on a sharp rise this year. The Officer's Fund reports that accidents in the "other" category have risen to 140 percent since last year bringing the total from five deaths in 2016 to 12 in 2017.
According to ODMP, one officer drowned while attempting to save a woman from a freezing river, and another was exposed to liquid nitrogen fumes when trying to rescue an unconscious woman in a medical facility.
Also, three officers, and one K-9 suffered heart attacks as a result of strenuous activity on the job, and one officer succumbed to respiratory problems after a stressful arrest, ODMP reports.
Because of the stark increase in officer fatalities due to vehicle, and various other causes, police fatalities are tragically up a total of 42 percent — 36 in 2016 to 51 in 2017 — NLEOF reports.
This report comes one day after Peace Officer Memorial Day. The White House was lit with blue lights on Monday in remembrance of these fallen officers.
Tonight the White House is illuminated in blue in honor of #PeaceOfficersMemorialDay and #NationalPoliceWeek:… https://t.co/y2MyD9VqBi— The White House (@The White House) 1494899538.0